Alcohol & Cocaine More Harmful Than Nicotine

It began with a ridiculous study by the authors of the Million Women Study who wrote in The Lancet Medical Journal in recent days.

This study found that smokers tripled their chances of dying over a nine years period compared with non-smokers, with most of the increased deaths resulting from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease or strokes.

Suddenly, as usual, this signalled the previously dormant, unimaginative anti-smoking lobby, ASH Ireland, to call for a 60c increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes in December’s budget. They claim that 5,700 people die of tobacco-related illnesses every year and the government must now take a leadership role in an effort to cut that number.

It would appear that ASH Ireland are not aware that a large percentage of smokers obtain their tobacco products quite legally from abroad, or from illegal outlets here in Ireland. A significant price increase is therefore not the best weapon in the fight against a Nicotine habit, but rather it should focus on education to achieve its intended aims.

In a more reliable recent survey conducted involving almost 300 health and social care professionals in Scotland and published as part of a paper in the British Medical Journal, Alcohol not Nicotine products are ranked as the fourth most harmful drug behind Heroin, Crack Cocaine, and Crystal Meth, yet  ahead of Cocaine, Ecstasy, Cannabis, and Nicotine.

Irish health experts and campaigners presently agree that their research highlights the need for Government action not so much on nicotine but rather on alcohol.

According to this latter survey of some 19 legal and illegal substances:-

(A) Heroin is ranked first for personal harm, social harm, and combined harm.
(B) Crack Cocaine is ranked second for personal and combined harm and ranked third for social harm.
(C) Crystal Meth takes third spot for personal and combined harm, and fourth spot for social harm.
(D) Alcohol is ranked fourth for personal and combined harm and second for social harm, surprisingly ahead of Crack Cocaine.
(E) Cocaine is ranked sixth, while nicotine comes in at only seventh position.

Looks like this government is more interested in gathering tax than in it’s citizens welfare.
The authors of the latter survey state that one of the strengths of their studies was the involvement of a large number of Health and Social Working professionals on the ground, whom they involved.

Alcohol was the only drug to rate higher on social harm than personal harm, thus reflecting the enormous burden to the health care system posed by alcohol and also the negative effects on crime, workplace absences and on family life, including domestic violence.

Regarding the already high tax gleaned from cigarettes, introduced by the last government, with the trend continued by our current lot, proceeds were supposed to be handed over for heart research or am I mistaken? The Irish Heart Foundation claim they only receive 10% of their funding from the government.

Soon expect to purchase illegal drugs at a cost which will be less than the legal variety & expect a new daily household tax to emerge, if Ash get their unimaginative Christmas budget wish.


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